Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

P90X® MEETS SHAKEOLOGY®! Issue #103 10/18/11

Shakeology® and P90X®

By Steve Edwards

The whole Beachbody® community is buzzing about Shakeology and all the great health benefits it provides. Now Steve Edwards answers your questions about how best to incorporate Shakeology into your P90X regimen.

Shakeology®—The Healthiest Meal of the Day® and P90X®

Can Shakeology replace one of my meals in the P90X nutrition plan?

Shakeology and StrawberriesI'd hope so, given that it's a meal replacement shake! But seriously, Xers do have a different nutritional equation to consider than most other people do. Generally, meal replacement shakes are designed so you drink one of them instead of eating a meal to help you lose weight. Of course, Shakeology fits into this mold just fine. In fact, given how nutrient-dense it is, I'd say it's better than anything on the market. And even though it contains an entire day's worth of many nutrients, it's still only 140 to 150 calories.

Aren't most of the meals in the P90X nutrition plan in the 400 to 500 calorie range?

Exactly. And it won't serve the average Xer well to cut out calories. This is because as you get fitter, your nutritional requirements change along with your body composition. When you first start to exercise, you can lose weight just by restricting your caloric intake. But as you gain muscle, you need to eat more to continue losing weight, and this is often a lot more than you ate when you first began losing weight—sometimes it's more than double. If you eat too little during P90X, your weight loss can plateau, along with your ability to do the workouts.

This is why we give you a lot of smoothie recipes and options. Shakeology, like many other meal replacement shakes, can be a component of something larger. For meals, we suggest adding more calories from healthy fat sources, like nut butters (almonds, cashews, etc.), along with more standard smoothie-like ingredients, like fruit. Doing this not only brings your calories into line with your diet plan, but helps you balance your meals so they digest more slowly, like ordinary meals generally do.

I'm doing the portion approach in P90X. What block(s) could Shakeology replace?

Pasta

The portion plan is basically little chunks of macronutrients portioned out to help you easily balance your diet. Shakeology is equal parts carbs and protein, with almost no fat. So Shakeology can replace one block of protein and one block of carbs.

Can Shakeology replace one of the snacks in the P90X nutrition plan?

Shakeology is an incredibly nutrient-rich snack, a perfect snack for Xers. Again, because it doesn't have much fat, its nutrients are put to use very quickly by your body. This makes it an ideal pick-me-up snack when you're on the go. It's better, in fact, than a lot of energy drinks. While something like Red Bull® might give you more up-front punch, Shakeology will give you sustained energy because it's providing nutrients your body needs to get things done, and it has a low glycemic impact, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Broccoli SaladShakeology's macronutrient ratio splits the difference among sports drink, protein shake, and recovery drink, but it can substitute for any or all of them, because it also has an excellent micronutrient profile. Most people are focused only on macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbs), but macronutrients are only part of your nutritional equation. Micronutrients are things like phytonutrients, adaptogens, and other scientific-sounding stuff. While we refer to these as "micro," nutritionally, they're anything but small. Many of them are absolutely essential for a healthy life. Shakeology speeds these micronutrients into your system, which enables you to perform better.

Why don't we hear more about the importance of micronutrients?

Not to dwell too much on conspiracy theories, but "Big Food," as we call the American food industry, doesn't want us focusing on micronutrients because most of them have been destroyed in many of the foods we eat, killed by things like processing and pasteurization. These processed foods are then sprinkled with what have been lobbied to be "important" ingredients, but which in reality barely provide enough nutrition for basic survival, as opposed to thriving. As you can observe by watching the American population grow "larger," this is leading to all sorts of problems.

WalnutIn nature, of course, food doesn't come packaged and processed and robbed of vital nutrients that make it good for us. It has a balance of nutrients that help sustain life. It's possible for food scientists to recreate this balance in processed foods, but this is expensive. Essentially, if it doesn't fit the numbers, shareholders don't want to see it happen. So the Big Food corporations make cheap food and keep us in the dark about nutrition. This is exactly why we're in the predicament we're in today, with obesity and poor health, because it's much cheaper to make calorie-rich, nutrient-poor food than it is to produce natural food.

This is why Shakeology has been designed the way it has. There isn't any one food in nature that has all the micronutrients we need to fill the nutritional gaps in our diets—that's why we need to eat a variety of foods. But most of us don't do that. So at its core, this is what Shakeology is doing—filling in our nutritional gaps.

Can Shakeology substitute for P90X® Results and Recovery Formula®?

It's not an exact swap, but you could do a lot worse. When you're training very hard, like those times when your body is shaking—during, say, P90X Chest & Back—Results and Recovery Formula is better because your body is "bonking"; it's essentially run out of glycogen, or blood sugar. Any time you're in this state, the more quickly you can recharge your glycogen, the less damage you'll do to your muscle cells, and the faster you'll recover. It's the one and only time sugar is a preferred nutrient in your diet.

Shakeology doesn't have nearly as much sugar as Results and Recovery Formula does. Shakeology only has a little, for nutrient transport. But because Shakeology's other ingredients also support your digestive processes, it helps you assimilate nutrients more rapidly. The latest science showing that a small amount of protein can "piggyback" on sugar, helping your body put the protein to use more rapidly, during or after exercise, holds true for Shakeology. It's not as effective as a Results and Recovery Formula for your hardest workouts, but at any other time, it's pretty darn good.

How's Shakeology as a protein shake?

Shakeology and BlueberriesShakeology has an ample amount of protein. While many protein shakes on the market may have more grams of protein, the type of protein they use often digests so slowly you can't drink them when you're active. Shakeology uses whey protein, which is one of the most (if not the most) bioavailable sources of protein. That means it absorbs more quickly into the system than other proteins do. Most proteins, especially when you get them in a whole food, take forever to digest. This means that eating protein right before, during, or right after exercise is generally a waste, because your body is using energy to digest something that won't help you for hours, energy that it could be using to enhance your workout or recovery. But when you combine whey protein along with Shakeology's other nutrients, you have a high-protein shake that can fit into many different nutritional slots in your day, something a standard protein drink can't do.

Should I still bother taking P90X® Peak Health Formula or ActiVit® multivitamins if I'm drinking Shakeology every day?

We get the vitamin question a lot, because Shakeology has so many vitamins in it already. However, using my previous example involving processed foods, on any given day, most of us only get a fraction of the nutrients we should be consuming, even when we're eating more calories than we should. This is exactly why we have vitamin supplements in the first place. Throw exercise into the equation, which accelerates your body's usage of nutrients, and you can see why we recommend so many times the recommended daily allowance* (RDA) for certain vitamins and minerals.

For an average person, Shakeology might eliminate the need for a multivitamin. But if you remember the movie Supersize Me, you may recall that the average American takes about 600 steps a day—which isn't even your warm-up for a P90X workout! No one doing a Beachbody program is average. Xers, especially, are advised to take additional vitamin supplements.

Apple and Vitamins It's also great to take your supplements along with Shakeology because they'll digest more easily with help from Shakeology's digestive enzymes and whole-food sources of nutrients. One of the limiting factors with supplements is how well (or not so well) your body can assimilate them. Adding them to something you know your digestive system can break down easily is a plus.

It's important to mention two other variables here as well. First, many—if not most—of our customers are trying to lose weight. This requires reducing caloric intake while adding exercise, which increases nutrient requirements. Starting to see an equation where multivitamins and supplements make sense? The body can be a complex organism, but this comes down to simple math. The key to losing weight isn't just reducing calories; it's also finding a way to reduce your caloric intake and still get enough nutrients to keep you body functioning at its highest level. To do this, you need to seek out nutrient-dense foods. As I said before, you'd be hard-pressed to find something else that's as nutrient-dense as Shakeology.

Then there's the RDA, which is the "recommended daily allowance" for everybody. Imagine one nutritional number for every person on the planet, from a 100-pound computer programmer who sits all day to a 350-pound NFL lineman. How absurd is that? Anybody who's doing P90X is no longer an average individual. So chances are the RDA won't fit the bill if you want your body to perform as well as it can.

When's the best time to drink Shakeology during a P90X day?

Man Drinking Shakeology One of the beautiful things about Shakeology is how versatile it is. Because it helps you digest anything you consume along with it, there isn't really a wrong time to have it. Ideally, its best slot in an Xer's day is as a pre-workout snack, taken about 1 hour prior to your warm-up. Then your workout will help you get the most out of Shakeology, and the Shakeology will help you during the latter part of your workout, especially if your glycogen stores have been depleted slightly. Shakeology can also be effective pre-workout, post-workout, or any time during the day when your energy's flagging and you need a pick-me-up. Or you can make Shakeology smoothies and simply replace your meals. Basically, you can't go wrong.

Is there anything else you'd like to add about Shakeology?

Price holds a lot of people back, and I can understand that on the surface, Shakeology might look expensive. We tend to look at foods in a cost-to-calorie ratio, instead of a cost-to-nutrient ratio. Sure, you can buy a Big Gulp® and you get 800 calories for a dollar (or something like that). But what good are they? There are no micronutrients. They're full of man-made sugar, chemicals, and the by-products of genetically modified corn and soy production—no nutrition whatsoever. Whereas if you tried to assemble all the nutrients in Shakeology independently, you'd have to spend 40 bucks.

If you're serious about your health, you should consider what you spend your money on. People drop 3 to 4 bucks a day on things that are a detriment to their health without batting an eye. We're talking the retail price of a latte or a smoothie, or any number of things that are even less healthy. The consumer is essentially at war with a bunch of corporations that seem to be trying to poison them to make a quick buck. The obesity trend will only end when we take some responsibility for our health and begin to make better food choices.

If you have any questions about Shakeology, please use our helpful Shakeology FAQ page at faq.shakeology.com.

Related Articles
"What's New with the P90X2™ Nutrition Guide?"
"Metabolic Efficiency: Working Hard or Working Smart?"
"Fighting the Obesity Trend"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, October 24th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in The Beachbody Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive The Beachbody Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe.

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards' views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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5 Ways to Break through Dreaded Weight Loss Plateaus

By Justine Holberg

You're tracking calories, working out each day, then bam! For a week or two, the scale refuses to budge . . . and you realize you've hit a dreaded weight loss plateau. Now what?

Snacks on a Scale and RevAbs® Workout

Even though it's completely normal to hit a snag in your fitness journey, a perceived setback like this can send even the most dedicated dieter off course, away from healthy eating and toward cookies, cake, and pizza. But you can be strong and start getting back on the weight-loss track again. Try at least one of the following techniques, and there's a good chance you'll burst through your plateau in no time.

Here are five important things to know about hydration and exercise:

  1. Carrots and Dip Zigzag your daily calorie intake. In theory, you've got to eat less to lose more, but this isn't always the case. Sometimes you just have to shake things up. Here's one way to do it: If your average daily intake is 1,400 calories, try dropping to 1,200 one day, going up to 1,800 the next day, and then dropping back to 1,400. The idea is to keep your metabolism guessing. There's no magic number that works for everyone, so you'll have to experiment until you find the right calorie levels for you.

    According to Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards, what happens when you zigzag is that you force your body to choose how many calories it needs to recover from the rigors of your exercise program.

    "Most people who hit a plateau are undereating. If you are indeed undereating, adding calories for a few days, then lowering them again, will help you force your body into a hormonal response that will not only help you break out of a plateau, but—as you learn to recognize the signals—will teach you how much food you should be eating."
  2. INSANITY® Switch up your exercise routine. If you do the same workout each day, eventually it can start to become less challenging, and (unfortunately) less effective. If you push yourself to new levels of strength or exhaustion, you'll almost certainly see a shift. Here are some ways you can challenge your body:

    • Swap your jog for a bike ride.
    • Try weights with your cardio routine. (ChaLEAN Extreme® or RevAbs® can help you do this.)
    • Add intervals of high intensity to really make you sweat. (INSANITY® is a great workout for this.)
    • Drop to the floor for 10 push-ups right now!

    The idea is to try something different. According to Edwards, "The better you get at something, the easier it becomes. That's why we're always telling you to add more weight as you get stronger, and to move faster and jump higher as our programs progress. But it's also why all of our programs have phases of training. As your body adapts to stimulus, you need to change that stimulus in order to keep results happening."

  3. Eat some almonds.Almonds Almonds are a great snack, plus there's some research that indicates that they can help you burn fat. That's because they contain fiber and fatty acids—the good kind of fat that helps you lose weight. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared two groups of people who ate a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet. As part of their daily diet, one group ate 3 ounces of almonds every day. The other group ate a mix of complex carbs. What happened? The group that ate the almonds lost more weight.

    So next time you grab a snack, try a small handful of almonds, or as Edwards says, "Any nut, really. While almonds are one of the better nuts, all of them have a similar nutritional profile and make excellent snacks. That research probably would have turned out similarly if they'd used walnuts or filberts or whatever."
  4. Woman SleepingGet more sleep. This may seem like the opposite of number 2, but the truth is is that you could be training too hard, which is about the quickest way to hit a weight loss plateau, because an over-trained body holds on to weight as if it were starving to death. There's no better way to test this than to try and sleep more. The reason is that your body recovers much more quickly from exercise while it's asleep, and if you're burning the midnight oil while trying to do INSANITY, you could easily plateau from lack of recovery time.

    In a recent study at the University of Chicago Medical School, researchers found that during a period when study participants were deprived of sleep, they metabolized glucose less effectively. Additionally, they had higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which has been shown to impair memory, increase insulin resistance, and slow recovery in athletes.

    "There's a good reason why five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx said, 'The Tour is won in bed,'" says Edwards. Your body's recovery response during deep sleep is only rivaled by performance-enhancing drugs. When you're on the borderline of overtraining, getting more sleep is the first thing anyone should try."
  5. Woman Reading a Book and Holding an AppleRelax. Believe it or not, the one big thing besides diet and exercise that can cause you to plateau is stress.

    When you're stressed, your body sends out higher levels of the hormone cortisol that, as stated in number 4, can encourage your body to hang on to fat. "Cortisol is actually a performance-enhancing hormone," says Edwards. "But it's gotten a bad rap because we've begun living our lives at too high a volume. Cortisol is released at times when the body is in an emergency state. It increases performance, but only over a short period of time. When cortisol is released and forced into action at regular intervals, it causes your body to wear down and switch to more drastic means of survival, like holding on to excess amounts of body fat. Your life shouldn't feel like one big emergency. As a society, we need to learn to be more tranquilo, as the Spanish say."

    We get stressed for many reasons, almost all of which are influenced by the society around us. One of the best ways to combat stress is to get some alone time to chill. If you're the type who can't let go, try some forced relaxation techniques, of which yoga seems to be one of the most effective. There's something special about the mind/body interaction of yoga that forces a relaxed state even from the most stressed of us.

    If you feel you need a lot of help, dig into an intense course, like P90X Yoga X. For others, something lighter, like Yoga Booty Ballet® Pure and Simple Yoga, will do the trick. If you're not into yoga, then consider at least adding some stretching into your schedule. Most of Beachbody's programs have at least one stretching session. TurboFire® even has two!

Now are you ready to break through that plateau?

Related Articles
"8 Insider Tips That Can Help You Burn Fat Faster"
"6 Healthy Foods That Are Easy on Your Wallet"
"9 Foods That Can Fool You"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, October 24th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Beachbody Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive The Beachbody Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe.

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards' views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Shakeology Success Story

Watch how Shakeology helped Deb, a Southern-fried food fanatic, control her cravings and supercharge her weight loss results—she's lost more than 60 pounds and counting! Click below to see the video.

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Recipe: Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shakeology

ShakeologyOne of the best things about Shakeology (besides the great taste, and the way it helps you cram so many different nutrients into one glass) is the way you can customize it any way you like! Here's a yummy recipe that brings together the cuckoo-for-cocoa goodness of Chocolate Shakeology with ripe, juicy strawberries for a tasty treat that's hard to beat.

  • 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk (or soy, rice, or almond milk)
  • Ice (to taste)

Place water, milk, Shakeology powder, strawberries, and ice in a blender and whirl until creamy, then enjoy! Makes 1 serving.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
220 23 g 5 g 30 g 1 g 0 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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